The previous article told us about the high prices, epidemics and evacuation that the country witnessed, as well as the deterioration of conditions, and the cessation of industries and human production, until 599 AH (1202 AD) came when God had mercy on people and life returned to its former state. Then, we started talking about the rule of King Al-Adel (596-614 AH) (1200-1218 AD) over Egypt – after he became the Sultan of Egypt and the Levant- he managed to unify the country after the death of his brother, Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi. Abu Muzaffar Shams al-Din Yusuf ibn Qazaughli stated the following concerning the act of King Al-Adel at the time of high prices in Egypt: “Al-Adel acted unprecedentedly concerning the high prices in Egypt after the death of Al-Aziz; he used to go out at night himself and give money to the needy in their houses, and he shrouded three hundred thousand strangers of his own money.”
However, the policy of King Al-Adel with the Franks- in contrast to the stance adopted by his brother Salah al-Din- was inclined to peace, so he held truces one following the other until the last truce came to an end and the Franks moved towards Acre. Upon their arrival, King Al-Adel led his soldiers to it in Bisan (a city in Jordan in the Levantine valley), the Franks met him to fight him, so he headed towards Damascus. Ibn Taghri spoke about Al-Muwaffaq: “And they (the Franks) went out to Acre and gathered at the valley (the Jordan Valley in the Levant, which is a depression between Bayt al-Maqdis and Damascus), Al-Adel encamped in front of them on Baysan… people from the country had come to him to seek refuge, the Franks were disturbed and they followed him until he reached Damascus’ borders and planned to enter it, but was prevented by Al-Mu’tamid, who encouraged him to stay in the outskirts of Damascus.” The Franks campaign moved from Acre to Damietta, where they managed to seize the Damietta Tower (which is also called the Tower of the Chain) which was the lock of the Egyptian lands and an impregnable tower thanks to its iron chains extending along the Nile to prevent boats in the sea from entering Damietta. When news reached King Al-Adel, he was so sad that he fell ill and died! Ibn Taghri mentions: “The Franks took the Tower of the Chain from Al-Kamel, so Al-Kamel sent the Sheikh of Sheikhs Sadr Al-Din to his father Al-Adel and told him, so Al-Adel hit his chest with his hand, and he fell ill out of oppression till his death.” But the news of his death did not reach the people lest it would affect the morale of the soldiers while they were in the midst of their war to liberate Damietta. Abu Al-Muzaffar mentions: “When Al-Adel died, only Karim Al-Din Al-Khalati knew of his death, so he sent the bird to Nablus to Al-Mu’azzam Issa bin Al-Adel. Al-Mu’azzam came on Saturday to Aleqin village, located in the outskirts of Damascus, so he safeguarded the treasuries, shrouded Al-Adel in a litter (a sedan chair without a dome)… taking him into the castle and concealed his death.”
King Al-Adel died in 615 AH (1218 AD), and he was moved to Damascus, where he was buried first in the Damascus Citadel, then he was moved to his school named after him in 619 AH (1222 AD) and was buried in his grave there. King Al-Adel had started building it in 612 AH (1215 AD), and it was completed by his son, Al-Muazzam Issa. King Al-Adel ruled the country for nearly nineteen years.
Egypt witnessed a severe increase in prices during the first year of the rule of Al-Adel, a great earthquake occurred in Upper Egypt, demolishing many buildings, and many people died. The earthquake spread to the Levant and the coast, destroying the city of Nablus, and claiming the lives of thirty thousand people. In the thirteenth year (609 AH / 1213 AD) of the rule of King Al-Adel, he united with his sons; Al-Kamel, Al-Fa’ez and Al-Muazzam to fight the Franks who invaded Damietta, and he lost his son, King Al-Awhad, who died in the same year. Among the achievements of King Al-Adel is the rebuilding of the Ayyubid castle (the current Citadel of Damascus), and… Stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center